3 Tech Hacks for the Job Search

Technology can definitely make the job search more complicated. . .but occasionally, technology is there to bail you out as well. Here are 3 tech-based quick fixes we recently discovered that we think you’ll find useful in your job search:

Situation 1: You need to update your PDF resume

We sometimes see patrons who need to update or revise their resume but it is in PDF format. Many computers (including library computers) do not have the software necessary to edit PDF files. What can you do?

Sometimes that resume was originally in another format such as Microsoft Word and was exported as a PDF file. If you can track down the original file and open that in Microsoft Word and update or revise it with no problem. However, if all you have is the PDF, try this:


  • Convert it using Word. Newer editions of MS Word (2013 and beyond) are able to open a PDF and convert it to Word format. This is the most effective and hassle-free option. Here is a step-by-step guide from Microsoft. However it will not work with a scan. This works best with files that were created in Word and exported as PDFs. If the resume was originally created as a PDF, some of the formatting (such as font size and style) will be lost, but you can restore or modify that in Word.
  • Use ILovePDF.com. This website converts PDFs to Word documents and produced excellent results when we tested it. It even does a great job converting fancy resumes formatted with tables. However it will not work with a scan.
  • Use Google Drive to convert it. Obviously this one only works if you have a Google account. Upload the PDF to your Drive and open the file as a Google Doc. Then, in the menu bar, go to File -> Download as -> Microsoft Word (docx). Again this technique does not work with scans.
  • If your resume is a scan, none of the above options will work very well. If that is the case, we have another blog post that explains what you can do.

Situation 2: Your employer sent you a packet of forms to fill out, but they are in PDF format

In the last few months we have worked with several patrons who found a new job, and their (new) employer needed them to complete several forms that are in PDF format. Some PDF forms are designed to be filled out electronically but this is uncommon. As in (1) above most computers (including library computers) do not have the software to edit PDF files and so completing these forms is inconvenient. Usually people must (a) print the forms, (b) fill them out by hand, (c) scan them, and (d) email them back to the employer. There is however a simpler way:


You can type in PDF files electronically using the website Kami at www.kamiapp.com. To use Kami you need an account but a basic account is free. The way Kami works is, you do not fill in the PDF form electronically so much as you create text boxes and type over those spaces in the form where you need to add information. It is very much like using a typewriter to complete a form except you are using a website on a computer.

Situation 3: You want to make sure your resume uses key words that match the job description

An important part of putting together an effective resume is using keywords that line up with a job description. That potential employer is looking for someone who has certain specific skills, and they use something called Automated Tracking Software (ATS) to look for those skills and keywords in resumes they receive. The bad news is, if your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, it could be rejected by the ATS before it gets seen by a person. The good news is, there are websites that scan your resume and let you know how well your resume lines up with a job description. Try these websites to help you beat the ATS:


  • Skillsyncer at www.skillsyncer.com. You can try it for free and can use it for free once per week. You can also subscribe for a monthly or quarterly fee, and this allows you to use it as much as you like, and you receive more thorough feedback. Upload your resume, search the web for a job that interests you, paste the job listings description into the Skillsyncer platform. Your resume receives feedback within seconds. Your match report includes a Job Match Score, Keyword Analysis, and Common Resume Checks for you to review.
  • Jobscan at www.jobscan.co. It is more expensive than Skillsyncer although the feedback and recommendations you receive (include cover letter templates) are more extensive.

Written by Richard Wright